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March 20, 2009


To read a really thoughtful reflection on which stories are shaping us, take a look at Emmanuel Katongole's Mirror to the Church. He asks us to think about where in our experience is the blood of "tribalism" stronger than the waters of baptism? If you think of tribalism in a loose sense of the word, you see what an important question that is. When push comes to shove, what is the story we default to? If it is some other cultural story, or some other ties, we are on dangerous ground. Thanks for these reflections, Reggie.

Wow, that Editor's Note is nuts. I'd never have imagined that.

I'm mixed about stuff like this. On the one hand, I don't want to be an elitist who treats my tribal leaders like they're cults of personality. On the other hand, I *love* that messages from folks like Driscoll, Piper, and Mohler are widespread enough to get Time's attention. I'd be lying if I denied that I was pumped to see them get publicity in Time Mag.

Great corrective. Thanks, Dr. Kidd.


I am as dubious of the myth of cultural influence as anyone. But is Calvinism a tribe that threatens to distract us from the Christian story or is it the best way to tell the Christian story?

Cornelius Van Til's response to the 1947 Time article on resurgent Calvinism may offer an answer to that question. He urged readers to distinguish between historic Calvinism and its modern substitutes. It is the latter, whether one follows Niebuhr in 1947 or Driscoll/Piper in 2009, that seems particularly vulnerable to tribalism.

Calvinism could become a tribe if it were to become more enamored with its superiority at telling the Christian story than with the Christian story itself. Calvinism could become a tribe if it contemplated voting Driscoll/Piper off the island.

That said, huzzah for CVT's trying to distinguish between belief and genuine error in his day. May we be discerning in our own.

BTW, huzzah too to you, John, for seeking to keep his voice alive.

My main concern is that we not let fear of tribalism keep us from telling the story as best we can. Recently Mark Dever has described infant baptism as a sin. I admire him for being willing to put the matter that strongly. Of course, he is completely wrong. But his error is not tribalism. JM

Well said, JM. Thx. RK

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